England

Warton, St Oswald’s Church
A beautiful medieval church dating largely the 15th century, St Oswald’s is known for its association with the Washington family, whose most famous descendant was George Washington, first president of the United States. The Washington family coat of arms, in the church tower, was the inspiration for the US flag.

A beautiful medieval church dating largely the 15th century, St Oswald’s is known for its association with the Washington family, whose most famous descendant was George Washington, first president of the United States. The Washington family coat of arms, in the church tower, was the inspiration for the US flag.

Each year on 4 July the Stars and Stripes fly from the tower to honour the Washington connection. The tower itself was built by Robert Washington in the 15th century. Under the tower is a portrait of George Washington and a Washington coat of arms carved from stone. Though worn, you can clearly see the three mullets and two bars that inspired the stars and stripes on the American flag.

The church consists of an aisled nave with a clerestory above, chancel, south porch, and west tower. In the tower hag three bells, cast in 1577, 1731 and 1782.

On the wall of the north aisle is an elaborate family tree of the Washingtons of Warton, tracing the ancestry of George Washington. The family tree also shows the descent of Sir Winston Churchill from Robert Kitson of Warton Hall.

The pews are Victorian but one of the pews incorporates nine heraldic shields from an earlier Georgian box pew owned by Sir George Midleton of Leighton. sir George died in 1673 and you can see a plaque commemorating his life attached to a pillar in front of the pew.

The head of the eagle lectern

Over the south doorway is a royal coat of arms from the reign of Queen Victoria.

The oldest part of the church is the south aisle wall, which dates to the 14th century, though the font may be of Norman origin. It was restored in 1661 when a highly decorative lead lining was added and the font was set upon a plinth. The font bears the initials of the local gentry who paid for the work; Sir George Midleton of Leighton Hall, Nathaniel West, and Sir Robert Bindloss of Borwick Hall.

The windows are all Victorian, most of them given by the Sharpe and Linden families. One window commemorates two children of the manager of the Carnforth Iron Works who died young. Partially hidden from view in the vestry is a very finely crafted window by Shrigley and Hunt depicting St Oswald with St Patrick and St Aidan, along with the family coat of arms of William Bolden of Hyning (d 1895).

The site slopes dramatically, with the north door over 2 feet above the nave floor. Just off Main Street is the medieval Old Rectory, long the home of rectors serving St Oswald’s, now a partial ruin, in the care of English Heritage.

Note: You may see Warton church listed as Holy Trinity, but this dedication is no longer accurate.

Slaidburn, St Andrew’s Church
There was a church at Slaidburn as early as the Norman period, but the current church dates to 1450. The church consists of a nave and chancel with clearstory, north and south aisles, west tower, and north porch. St Andrew’s is particularly notable for its excellent quality woodwork.

There was a church at Slaidburn as early as the Norman period, but the current church dates to 1450. The church consists of a nave and chancel with clearstory, north and south aisles, west tower, and north porch. St Andrew’s is particularly notable for its excellent quality woodwork.

There is an Elizabethan font cover, a very attractive set of early Georgian pew boxes, a carved Jacobean chancel screen, and a glorious triple-decker pulpit from 1740. The organ was used at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and installed at Slaidburn in 1870.

The timber roof in king-post style probably dates to the early 17th century. The five-stage west tower is 15th century and holds a ring of six bells, all of them cast – at different times – at the famous Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.

In the churchyard is a cross shaft dating to the late medieval period. The shaft is made from sandstone and has finely carved detail on its upper section.

Though the village of Slaidburn is in Lancashire today, it was traditionally part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. For that reason, Slaidburn Church is part of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

Moyses Hall Museum
A Grade I listed building, Moyses Hall was a merchant’s house, built around 1180, which makes it one of the oldest domestic buildings in England still in use, and a rare surviving example of Norman domestic architecture. The oldest parts of the Hall are the south and west walls, which are original 12th-century construction, while most of the remainder is Tudor, with some Victorian restoration.

A Grade I listed building, Moyses Hall was a merchant’s house, built around 1180, which makes it one of the oldest domestic buildings in England still in use, and a rare surviving example of Norman domestic architecture. The oldest parts of the Hall are the south and west walls, which are original 12th-century construction, while most of the remainder is Tudor, with some Victorian restoration.

A lock of Mary Tudor’s hair

The Hall

The name ‘Moyses’ refers to a long-held belief that the Hall was built by a Jewish merchant, or served as a synagogue, but a more likely tale is that it was erected as a dwelling for scholars associated with the Abbey, and as a part-time pilgrim’s hostelry.

The house was built with a first-floor hall and solar, or private family chamber. The ground floor was used for business premises and storage. It is built in two sections, each with a gabled frontage looking onto the street.

The most obvious Norman features are the ground floor windows, but these are, in fact, Victorian inserts and are not original. Two first floor windows are original, however. There is a clock turret, but this was added by famed Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott during a 19th Century remodelling.

The Moyses Hall Museum

Over its long life, Moyses Hall has seen use as a dwelling, an inn, a gaol, and a police station, before becoming the home to a museum of local life. The museum features collections of clocks and watches finds from the Abbey, clothing and textiles, prints, paintings, displays on the Suffolk Regiment, and other aspects of local heritage.

There is even a locket containing the hair of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, who is buried at St Mary’s church. There is a special display on the Red Barn Murder, a local crime which was a huge scandal in the 1820s.

Moyses Hall is one of several historic buildings clustered around Cornhill and Buttermarket (others including the Art Gallery, designed by Robert Adam, and the Victorian Corn Market).

Visiting

The Hall is very easy to find, standing at the west end of Buttermarket. It is well signposted for pedestrians. There is no easy on-street parking, but there are several pay and display car parks within 5-10 minutes easy walking distance.

Bust of William Corder’s
head in the
Red Barn Murder display

You enter the building into an atmospheric vaulted chamber, supported on large Norman pillars. We visited on a blistering hot summer day in June and found to our delight that the interior of the Hall was cool and comfortable; a welcome respite from the weather outside. The receptionist was extremely helpful and gave us a fascinating account of the Hall’s history and how it developed as a museum. Opposite the reception area is a display on the Abbey and other medieval finds, including a huge broadsword found at the Battle of Fornham (1173).

Another highlight is a lock of Mary Tudor’s hair. Mary was Henry VIII’s favourite sister. she married Louis XIII of France and later married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. She was buried in the Abbey, then reinterred in St Mary’s church after the Abbey was dissolved by her brother.

Also on the ground floor is a large exhibition devoted to Crime and Punishment. The highlight here is a display on the Red Barn Murder, with objects used during the murder investigation and memorabilia produced as ‘souvenirs’ that catered to the huge interest in the case.

The most unusual item is a plaster cast of William Corder’s head. Corder was the man accused of murdering Maria Marten in 1827 as the couple prepared to elope from their village of Polstead to Ipswich. The cast of his head was made in support of the fashionable concept of phrenology, the theory that the shape of a person’s skull could predict their behaviour and character.

One of the most interesting exhibits is a large display of historic clocks, from longcase clocks made locally to a set of superb 17th-century automaton clocks made in Augsburg, Germany.

Moyses Hall is like Dr Who’s Tardis; it seems huge on the inside, much larger than you would imagine from the exterior. You think you’ve reached the end only to realise there’s much more to explore. It seems fitting that there is a full-sized replica of the Tardis on the first-floor landing.

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Badingham, St John the Baptist Church
St John the Baptist at Badingham is a fascinating country church, dating mostly to the 13th century, but with enough surviving bits and pieces to suggest that there was an earlier Norman church on the site. With so much to see that it is hard to know where to start, so let’s begin with the orientation of the building. Rather than being aligned on the usual east/west line, St John’s is set on a Northeast/Southwest line, so that the midsummer sun shines through the east window.

St John the Baptist at Badingham is a fascinating country church, dating mostly to the 13th century, but with enough surviving bits and pieces to suggest that there was an earlier Norman church on the site. With so much to see that it is hard to know where to start, so let’s begin with the orientation of the building. Rather than being aligned on the usual east/west line, St John’s is set on a Northeast/Southwest line, so that the midsummer sun shines through the east window.

This is likely because St John the Baptist’s feast day is traditionally celebrated on midsummer day, but it is interesting to speculate how much this sort of solar alignment is tied to older, pre-Christian folk customs.

Seven Sacrament Font

St John’s boasts one of the most important Seven Sacrament fonts in East Anglia, one of only 13 in the county of Suffolk. The style of carving and the details of costumes depicted by figures on the eight font panels suggest that it was carved around 1485. Like the church itself, the font is deliberately aligned. The west face depicts the Mass, which a viewer behind the font would have been able to see for real at the high altar beyond.

Proceeding in a clockwise direction around the font, we next come to a carving of Penance, Extreme Unction (Last Rites), and Christ’s Baptism by John the Baptist, and, facing the altar, a baptism scene. Interestingly, the baptism scene depicted is using a font similar in style to the Badingham font.

Carrying on around the font is a panel showing Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Confirmation. Many of the carved figures were defaced during the Reformation, but the carving is still of a very high order.

The Seven Sacrament font

Worthy of special note is the wonderful Extreme Unction panel. This shows mourners gathered at the bedside of a dying man. So realistic is the carving that the man’s chamber pot and a pair of shoes are shown under his bed.

Look closely at the Mass panel; you can see two heads peeping around the top of the parclose screen. Now cast your eyes down to the base of the font where there are still more wonderful carvings. My favourite is what appears to be a Suffolk woodwose, a Wild Man of the Woods, carrying his traditional club.

High above the font is a glorious hammerbeam roof, one of the finest in Suffolk. The roof is adorned with carved figures of angels, many of them beautifully carved, as is the decorative frieze between the hammer beams. The angels are not original, but a late Victorian replacement for the original 16 angels taken down by the iconoclast William Dowsing in 1644.

There is a very odd niche set into the north wall, perhaps meant to contain a statue, but if so, it has long disappeared. More interesting is a wonderfully painted tomb of William Cotton (d. 1616) and his wife, in the chancel. This tomb has lying effigies of the dead couple, with a pair of beautifully dressed children kneeling on the panel below. This Grade I listed tomb is decorated with the crests of the Cotton and Rous families.

Badingham Church

Even earlier is an altar tomb in the north-west of the chancel, probably dedicated to Sir John Carbonell (d. 1423). The nicely carved pulpit is Jacobean, but even more interesting are the carved figures adorning the screen; these are like pagan fertility figures, and might be rather simplistic depictions of native American women based on uninformed reports from the New World. Or not!

And speaking of carvings, a pair of 12th-century corbels are worth noting. One of these looks like a rabbit to me, though it may well be a cat. Another shows a rather perplexed figure with his hands to his head. Outside the south porch, flanking the doorway, are figures of a dragon and another Woodwose, while one of the buttresses shows a dog with what looks to be a bowl in his mouth.

All told, Badingham’s church is a gem. And despite the fairly busy A1120 at the top of the village, there was something about the place when I visited; an ambience of peace and timeless Suffolk countryside beauty. I liked it so much that I started looking around the village to see if there were any houses for sale!

Blythburgh, Holy Trinity Church
The church of Holy Trinity at Blythburgh is one of the outstanding historic buildings in a county that seems to specialise in such things. There has been a church here on the banks of the River Blyth since perhaps as early as AD 630, but the current building has its roots in the 12th century when Blythburgh Priory was founded by a group of canons from Essex. In 1412 Henry IV granted the canons the right to build the current church.

The church of Holy Trinity at Blythburgh is one of the outstanding historic buildings in a county that seems to specialise in such things. There has been a church here on the banks of the River Blyth since perhaps as early as AD 630, but the current building has its roots in the 12th century when Blythburgh Priory was founded by a group of canons from Essex. In 1412 Henry IV granted the canons the right to build the current church.

This they did in grand style, perhaps as a bit of one-upmanship, competing with nearby churches at Southwold and Covehithe. The church is huge, seeming vastly out of proportion to the size of the village, which has never numbered more than 500 souls.

Like many East Anglian churches, Blythburgh suffered from the attentions of iconoclast William Dowsing and his associates. In 1644 Dowsing removed ’20 superstitious pictures … 2 crosses … and 20 cherubim’. It seems that the church went steadily downhill from there, as by 1847 it was described as ‘mouldering into ruin’, and late Victorian worshippers had to bring umbrellas into the church to protect themselves from rain during services.

Things got so so bad that the Bishop of Norwich closed the church in 1881. Then William Morris and his Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings stepped in. The SPAB turned Blythburgh into something of a public ’cause celebre’, a debate between those interested in Preservation and those keen on Restoration.

Thankfully the Victorian ‘restorers’ treated Blythburgh with more restraint than was their custom, and the splendid medieval architecture was gradually and sensitively restored over the last century, leaving us to admire a superb, spacious medieval tour-de-force. One of the best writers on East Anglian churches, Simon Knott, has called Holy Trinity ‘the most significant medieval art object in the county’, and I have to say I can’t argue with him.

The superb angel roof

The most impressive feature of the church interior is the wonderful roof, decorated with a dozen figures of carved angels. There were originally more, before Dowsing did his bit. But why did he not order all the angels removed? Whatever the reason, the surviving angels are superb, utterly magnificent examples of late medieval art. Several of the angels are dotted with musket holes, the unfortunate effect of an 18th century attempt to shoot down jackdaws that had found a home in the nave rafters.

Another interesting tale exists about the church. In 1577 the steeple collapsed in a storm, and fell into the nave, landing on the font. Naturally enough, given the prevailing mood of the time, the Devil was blamed for the incident. According to the tale, a black mark on the door is the Devil’s hoof marks. Certainly, the damage to the font can be easily seen. This is a Seven Sacrament font, one of 13 or so in Suffolk.

Apart from the angel carvings in the roof, the other glory of Blythburgh is the wonderfully carved wooden bench ends. These are medieval survivors, though with some sensitive Victorian restoration. There are several series, or themed groups of carving, including the four seasons, the Seven Deadly Sins, and the Seven Acts of Mercy, plus assorted angel figures. There are further superb carvings in the chancel choir stalls, though these are likely to be post-medieval additions.

One of the figures is St Etheldreda, daughter of King Anna, who was killed at the nearby Battle of Bulcamp in AD 654. Turn east towards the sanctuary and you will see a rare Easter Sepulchre, one of the largest in East Anglia. The sepulchre is used as a tomb for the Hopton family. Next to the organ is a 17th-century clockjack, a mechanical figure that strikes the hours on a bell. There is another, grander clockjack at Southwold.

Once you are done exploring the interior – and that might take some time – take a stroll along the river bank, especially the far bank of the Blyth. From there, the church seems to rise above the reeds like a fairytale castle. And indeed, it is a fairy tale, a wonderful medieval tale told in stone and wood. If you have any interest in historic architecture, Holy Trinity at Blythburgh is well worth seeking out.

Cowlinge, St Margaret of Antioch Church
Cowlinge is one of the largest parishes in west Suffolk, tucked up against the Cambridgeshire border north of Haverhill. The church of St Margaret of Antioch lies beside the old estate of Branches Park, now vanished, home of the Usborne and Dickins families. Members of both families are buried at Cowlinge (pronounced ‘Coolinje’).

Cowlinge is one of the largest parishes in west Suffolk, tucked up against the Cambridgeshire border north of Haverhill. The church of St Margaret of Antioch lies beside the old estate of Branches Park, now vanished, home of the Usborne and Dickins families. Members of both families are buried at Cowlinge (pronounced ‘Coolinje’).

This attractive country church is mostly a product of the 14th century. The clerestorey above the nave is 15th century, but the red brick west tower was built in the 18th century to replace an earlier tower which had collapsed. The tower dates to 1733 and was built by Francis Dickins (Dickens) of Branches Park, a fact which is commemorated by a plaque in the gallery at the west end of the nave.

Medieval graffiti

One of the most fascinating features at Cowlinge is the graffiti which is inscribed into various pillars. On one of the south-east nave pillars is a rare and unusual depiction in the shape of a Viking style ship. The ship is quite crudely drawn but can identified as a northern European carrack, of a style that suggests a carving date of the mid 13th century.

There are numerous Latin inscriptions on the nave pillars. One is a bit of poetry in elegiac couplet (a combination hexameter and pentameter) which translates as

Whensoever you go by me
Whether man, woman, or boy you be,
Bear in mind you do not fail
To say in passing ‘Mary Hail’.

Other graffiti includes a pair of feet, single hands with pointing fingers, severed heads, and a peculiar seahorse. There are so many pieces of graffiti that one might call Cowlinge church a medieval graffiti gallery. It does take some determination to make out some of the graffiti and to separate the medieval art from some inevitable modern copycat scratchings, but there are good signs and the printed church guide is quite helpful.

There are also two 14th-century consecration crosses, on the eastern responds of each nave arcades.

One of the most interesting interior features is a carved wooden rood screen, dated to about 1400. The screen retains its original gates and hinges, something that can only be said of one other screen in Suffolk (Lavenham being the other). There is also a smaller parclose screen in the south aisle, of a slightly later date.

There are not one but two squints, one on each side of the chancel arch, and fragmentary traces of a large medieval wall painting of the Last Judgement. There is an octagonal font dated to the 14th century and a hatchment to Henry Usborne of Branches Park (d. 1823). Another resident of Branches Park, Frances Dickens (d. 1840) is remembered by a large marble monument.

One final interesting historic feature is a set of old benches at the west end of the north aisle. According to an inscription above the benches dated 1618, these were provided for inmates of a local house of correction. This was not a prison as we understand it today. Under a 1609 law, houses of correction were established for ‘Lew’d women who have bastards, rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars’.

Constables in each parish were required to round up said miscreants and bring them before the local magistrate, who would commit them to a house of correction. Local tradition suggests that the Cowlinge House of Correction was near the church, opposite one of the entrances to Branches Park.

Warton Old Rectory
The remains of a Grade I listed late 13th or early 14th-century hall built for the powerful rectors of Warton. The rectory features a large great hall and residential quarters. The rectory served not only a residence but also a courthouse. Part of the medieval buildings are incorporated into the current vicarage.

The remains of a Grade I listed late 13th or early 14th-century hall built for the powerful rectors of Warton. The rectory features a large great hall and residential quarters. The rectory served not only a residence but also a courthouse. Part of the medieval buildings are incorporated into the current vicarage.

The rectory is constructed of limestone rubble with sandstone dressing and is composed of a great hall, service rooms, and porch. To the north of the rectory are buried remains of a back court.

The Old Rectory stands in the garden of the Victorian vicarage. Historical records show that there was a building here as early as 1304, known as Parsonage Court, and it may be that the first rectory was built in 1298. It was for some time the home of the Thweng family, who held the church living. Local courts were held at the Old Rectory until they were moved to the nearby Shovel Inn.

Looking into the hall

Visiting

I was amazed at the Old Rectory. I had pictured a small building, suitable for a poor medieval church rector. But the rectors of Warton were pretty important officials if we can judge by the size and splendour of the Old Rectory. The building is easily the equal of a small medieval hall, suitable for a wealthy yeoman, a person of standing and substance.

The rectangular building is divided into two sections by a stone screen about 2/3 along. The large chamber served as a great hall, while the smaller section held a buttery and pantry on either side of a central passage leading to the kitchen.

Visible on the north-east gable end is a sizeable fireplace, which must have served the rector’s private quarters, itself linked to an inner chamber, which is now gone. Outside the building are remains of further foundation walls, suggesting the L-shape of the inner chamber. Near this is a well-preserved section of drains, protected by stone slabs. Entrance to the hall was through 2 doorways in the north end, each of which had a porch.

The sheer scale of the house and the number of chambers tells us that the Rector of Warton was a person of wealth and status, and the Rectory certainly reflects that. It is a wonderful medieval building and deserves a lot more attention than it gets as a historic attraction.

There is a small parking area up a small lane beside the George Washington Inn. From there it is only a hundred yards to the Old Rectory, which is tucked away in a half-hidden clearing beside the ‘new’ rectory.

Leighton Hall
This modest Victorian house has a history going back to at least the 13th century. Records show that Adam D’Avranches had a fortified manor house here in 1246. The present owner of Leighton Hall is descended from D’Avranches, through 26 generations, though the house has been sold twice during its long history.

This modest Victorian house has a history going back to at least the 13th century. Records show that Adam D’Avranches had a fortified manor house here in 1246. The present owner of Leighton Hall is descended from D’Avranches, through 26 generations, though the house has been sold twice during its long history.

History
One of the most famous owners was Sir George Middleton, a staunch Royalist in the Civil War. Middleton was knighted and then made a baronet in one single day of fighting at Durham in 1642. He was also the only owner in the history of Leighton Hall to be a Protestant. Even during the darkest days of the Reformation the owners of Leighton were Catholics, and there was always a priest in the house, though he often had to be hidden!

The next owner was Albert Hodgson, a Jacobite supporter who was imprisoned during the 1715 Rising in favour of James Stuart. The Hall was burned by government troops and the estate seized. One of Hodgson’s friends bought the house at auction and gave it back to him, though it was not until his daughter married a wealthy husband that the Hall could be rebuilt. That wealthy man was George Townley, who rebuilt the medieval house in neo-classical style. He also laid out the surrounding parkland, and much of the house and grounds we see today date from Townley’s ownership.

The estate eventually passed to Richard Gillow, grandson of the famous furniture maker, Robert Gillow of Lancaster. Around 182 Richard Gillow renovated the Hall in fashionable Gothic Revival style, and it is this 19th century facade we see today, though it hides a much earlier building.

Visiting Leighton Hall is very much a hands-on experience; visitors are encouraged to relax in chairs and enjoy find a place at the 18th century table in the dining room. If you play the piano you’ll enjoy trying out the family’s Steinway Concert grand. As you can imagine the house is filled with Gillow furniture, but there are also collections of fine art.

One of the highlights is the sweeping and elegant Flying Staircase, a very early example of Gothic Revival style, with slender pillars supporting a curved stone staircase that seems ready to lift off!

Garden: The style of Leighton’s 19th century gardens is informal and charming. Herbaceous border and rose-covered walls fill the main garden with colour, while in the Walled Garden are flowering shrubs, herbs, and vegetables. Children will enjoy the caterpillar maze. Birds of prey are flown daily, weather permitting.

Arnside and Silverdale
Arnside and Silverdale is a unique countryside area on the verge of Morecambe Bay, stretching from northern Lancashire into southern Cumbria. The entire area is preserved as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Within the AONB are several National Trust administered areas worth mentioning, including Arnside Knott, a low hill that has proved to be enormously successful as a home to butterflies.

Arnside and Silverdale is a unique countryside area on the verge of Morecambe Bay, stretching from northern Lancashire into southern Cumbria. The entire area is preserved as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Within the AONB are several National Trust administered areas worth mentioning, including Arnside Knott, a low hill that has proved to be enormously successful as a home to butterflies.

The top of Arnside Summit gives excellent views north into the Lake District National Park, and out across Morecambe Bay.

Near Arnside Knott is Eaves Wood, an area of woodland that features several areas of exposed limestone pavement. This type of geological feature occurs when glaciers retreat, leaving behind slabs of limestone, called clints, split by deep fissures, or grikes. If the clints are square or rectangular, as they often are, the resemblance to manmade paving is quite remarkable. Eaves Wood has a network of paths making for enjoyable walks, and there is a Jubilee monument at the top.

The Lots, near Silverdale village, is grassland running down to the shore. There are views out over Morecambe Bay from a network of paths. The grasslands provide the perfect setting for spring displays of wildflowers. Jack Scout is a cliff on the Lancashire shore of Morecambe Bay. The geology here is limestone grassland, and it provides habitat for a variety of local songbirds and migratory birds.

Heald Brow is a mix of woodland, grassland, pasture, and scrub. There are good views from the top of the Brow and a rather odd looking field of hummocks made by large ant nests.

Resources:
Arnside and Silverdale AONB
Arnside and Silverdale – National Trust
Arnside Knott map – OS: SD450774
Eaves Wood map – OS: SD465763
The Lots map – OS: SD460749
Jack Scout map – OS: SD458737
Heald Brow map – OS: SD468742.

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Halton, St Wilfrid’s Church
The parish church at Halton dates back to at least 1190. Much of the current building is the result of a heavy rebuilding in the Victorian period, however. There is a late 16th-century tower, but the main historic interest at Halton is provided by a Viking cross in the churchyard.

The parish church at Halton dates back to at least 1190. Much of the current building is the result of a heavy rebuilding in the Victorian period, however. There is a late 16th-century tower, but the main historic interest at Halton is provided by a Viking cross in the churchyard.

The Halton cross stands some 4.5 metres high and probably dates to the 10th or 11th century. What is fascinating about the Halton cross is that it is carved with both Christian and Viking symbols, the latter illustrating the story of Sigurd and his combat with the dragon Fafnir.

The top of the cross was removed in the 16th century, and the shaft was used as a sundial. In the late Victorian period, a new top was added in a rough approximation of the original.

A pair of early grave slabs are set into the wall of the porch, and there are further fragments of Saxon crosses under the tower. There is also a very fine mausoleum for the Bradshaw family, built in classical style around 1775. Near the church are the remnants of an 11th-century Norman motte and bailey fortification.